Judge dismisses application to push murder trial back for 4th time
Justice Paul Bychok said COVID-19 travel restrictions are no reason to delay
A Nunavut court judge has dismissed an application to delay a murder trial for the fourth time in 18 months.
Daniel Hodgson is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Bradley Winsor in May 2017.
His lawyers had requested the trial, most recently scheduled to happen in April, be pushed to November.
Defence said J.P. Rancourt, one of Hodgson’s lawyers, has heart problems and cannot spend two weeks in an isolation hub, as advised by his doctor, according to Justice Paul Bychok’s decision on the matter.
However, Bychok said the pandemic is no reason to delay the trial further.
“There is every real possibility that we shall still be facing pandemic-related travel restrictions in the autumn,” wrote Bychok.
Hodgson’s trial was originally delayed for compassionate reasons on Nov. 4, 2019, again on March 23, 2020, due to COVID-19, and a third time on Aug. 31, 2020, according to Bychok.
“We have a precious window open in April wherein we can safely hold a COVID-compliant jury trial,” he wrote.
He added delaying the trial again would be unreasonable and “unfair to the family of the deceased” and Rancourt didn’t do enough work to figure out if he could be exempt from isolating for being a critical worker.
In May 2017, police arrested Hodgson at the Iqaluit airport after Winsor was found unresponsive at a home in Apex.
Winsor was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Hodgson was released on bail that July.
Jury selection for the trial is scheduled for one week beginning April 19, with the potential to run for two weeks, according to the Nunavut Court of Justice.